Anonymous Arabic and Persian Poetic Verses


This fragment contains an Arabic poem in eight verses in the center panel and Persian poetical verses in small rectangular registers arranged around the central panel and pasted above a light blue background. The Arabic poem stresses Muhammad’s ability to provide intercession for his community on the Day of Judgment. It is a kind of praise or request directed towards the Prophet that is seen in a number of other calligraphic panels meant either for public display or included in albums of calligraphies. The Arabic and Persian verses are executed in nasta'liq script, also known as ta'liq (in Turkey) and Farsi (in Arab lands). The term nasta'liq, which combines naskh (cursive) and ta'liq (hanging), refers to a blend of the two scripts believed to have been invented by the 14th-century Persian calligrapher Mir 'Ali Tabrizi. This fragment may have been produced in Persia in the 16th century. The central sheet of calligraphy consists of brown paper sprinkled with fine gold dust and contains five rough squares of gold leaf. The calligraphy panels are separated by gold lines outlined in black, forming rectangular frames for the Arabic verses. Around the central panel appears a pink border with floral designs executed in gold, with a light blue border with the 28 panels of Persian verses interlaced with gold vine designs. These calligraphic sheets are all glued onto a tan laminated paper decorated with gold-painted flowers, birds, and plants.

Last updated: October 17, 2011